Aphra Behn

(2074 words)
  • Jennifer Donald (University of Glasgow)

The name Aphra Behn has become synonymous with the renewed interest in early modern women's writing: she is heralded as the first professional English writer, an important predecessor to writers such as Anne Finch, Jane Barker, Delarivier Manley and Eliza Haywood, and an early proponent of women's rights. The accusations of scandal, impropriety and lewdness against both Behn's person and her work, which ensured her obscurity throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth century, has ironically served as an attraction to many twentieth-century scholars and students.

Janet Todd's The Secret Life of Aphra Behn (1996) is the most recent biography, although unlike many of her contemporaries Behn has been the subject of a number of …

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Donald, Jennifer. "Aphra Behn". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 July 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=332, accessed 01 July 2015.]

Articles on Behn's works

  1. Abdelazer, or The Moor's Revenge
  2. Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave
  3. The Forc'd Marriage
  4. The Rover, or The Banish't Cavaliers